Here’s Why Mars One Finalist Thinks the Project Isn’t Real
The Mars One mission captivated millions of people with its idea of sending 24 human beings on a one way ticket to the red planet, with the sole purpose of surviving and starting a human colony there. But a former NASA scientist, who is one of the top 100 finalists for the mission, says Mars One is not exactly what it appears to be and that it is doomed to fail.
Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity College’s School of Education in Dublin, became increasingly suspicious of the project when finalists were asked to donate a portion of their fees for media appearances to the organisation.
“My nightmare about it is that people continue to support it and give it money and attention, and it then gets to the point where it inevitably falls on its face,” Roche told an Australian reporter Elmo Keep for Medium’s Matter blog.
Roche said the Netherlands-based non-profit organisation encouraged applicants to engage the media, even asking them to donate profit to the project. According to the Medium story, Mars One gave finalists a list of “tips and tricks” for dealing with press requests, which included the following statement:
“If you are offered payment for an interview then feel free to accept it. We do kindly ask for you to donate 75% of your profit to Mars One.”
Mars One is attempting to raise around $6 billion for its current aim of putting people on a spacecraft and landing them on Mars by 2023. For a company that would require billions of dollars to accomplish a mission, pleas for donations didn’t inspire confidence and make it seem fishy, at least that’s what Roche thinks.
Further, Roche claims the selection process for applicants is flawed as it appears to be skewed towards those who contribute financially than those who are going to be fit for space travel, and could live on a new planet in isolation. So, even they make it off the ground to begin with, the project will eventually fail, as they won’t be able to survive the harsh environment of the red planet.
Even the “Top 10 hopefuls” for Mars One published last month in The Guardian, is, in fact, simply a list of applicants who have generated the most money for the organization, Roche said.
Keep, the journalist who is behind this story, has been digging into Mars One for months. Based on the dozens of interviews she conducted over the course of a year for the story, she believes Mars One doesn’t appear to be capable of carrying off the “most dangerous exploration mission in all of human history.”
“I wouldn’t classify it exactly as a scam—but… it seems to be, at best, an amazingly hubristic fantasy,” Keep said.